Anime and Japanimation Buying Guide

Anime  originated in Japan and the term simply means Japanese Animation  when used in the west. However, in Japan, 'anime' is simply a blanket term for 'animation'. According to Wikipedia, the anime  form first appeared in the early part of the 20th century coinciding with animation's general development across the USA and Europe. Anime became popular outside Japan in the 1980's and the market and reach for anime continues to grow.  English speakers sometimes use the word 'Japanimation' as a synomyn for anime, though this is increasingly uncommon. Anime  is widely considered an art form in Japan. Anime can possess a stunning visual aesthetic and varies stylistically from artist-to-artist with some artists favouring a realistic aesthetic whilst others create wildly exaggerated, highly stylized work. 


Many commentators trace anime's roots back to Manga . Manga is the term used to describe Japanese comics  and print cartoons, which themselves originally stem from woodblock prints and drawings from throughout the centuries. Manga has a broad range of subject matter, is often in black and white and frequently exists in serialized comic book form . Manga uses a panel layout, similar to western comics, to display the narrative events as they unfold. Anime borrows much from Manga and brings the principles of Manga to the animated form--not just the aesthetic and visual style.  Anime gained international popularity in the 1980s thanks to films like Akira  (1988) and the series Gundam  and Macross . 

Landmark Anime Films

A number of anime films, some touching the mainstream and others slow-burning cult classics, have gradually increased the popularity of the genre in the west.

Landmark Anime Films

Arguably the most important anime work of all time. Katshurio Ôtomo's 1988 masterpiece, Akira , tells the story of the oppressed Tetsuo, who after being tested on by the government, goes on a rampage through Neo-Tokyo.

Ghost In The Shell  (1997) is Mamoru Oshii's cleverly blended fusion of anime and computerized imagery that follows a cyborg cop and her partner hunting down a hacker known as the "Puppet Master'.

Spirited Away  (2006) is an epic fantasy, richly visualised with fantastical characters and humour. Hayao Miyazaki was rightly widely praised for this inventive and bold film.

1998's Perfect Blue  is a taut psychological thriller, a million miles away from the stereotypical perception of anime. Perfect Blue plays with the viewers sense of reality in a way rarely experienced in contemporary anime.

Vampire Hunter D  (2000) shows anime's ability to produce an effective horror film as we follow specialist vampire hunter, D, looking for a missing girl but facing competition from a rival clique.

Popular Anime Series

Popular Anime Series

Cowboy Bebop  frequently tops the best of lists for anime fans. The 1998 series follows the adventures of a nihilistic bounty hunter and his unlikely crew.  

Full Metal Alchemist  (2003) tells the story of two brothers who are... alchemists. Widely praised for highly imaginative plots and excellent character development.

Pokemon  is possibly the most widely recognised anime in the world thanks to it's huge international success with kids. This series is based on the popular electronic toy of the nineties, where children raised a 'pocket monster'.

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